Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund

The Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund (TBERF) is a strategic partnership between the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Restore America’s Estuaries. TBERF has opened the 2024 application process for cost-effective projects that will protect, restore, or enhance the natural resources of Tampa Bay and its contributing watershed HERE.

This includes projects that address on-the-ground habitat restoration; water quality improvement; applied research and monitoring; and community-based social marketing campaigns. Proposals that benefit historically underserved and overburdened communities are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to proposals that are aligned with conservation objectives and priorities described below.

Awards typically range from $25,000-$250,000. A minimum 1:1 match of cash or in-kind/contributed goods and services is required. Eligible applicants include local, state, and federal governments; non-profit organizations; and educational institutions. Projects should not exceed a three-year timeline from contract execution to completion.

To date, funding for 2024 TBERF has been provided by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Hillsborough County, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Pinellas County, the Mosaic Company, and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. Approximately $700,000 may be made available for project support in 2024.

Proposal Deadline

The proposal deadline is March 13, 2024, by 5:00 pm EDT. Applicants will be notified about the status of their funding request in the coming months. Examples of 2023 TBERF-awarded projects are available here.

The Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund (TBERF) is a competitive grants program with the goal of funding projects which restore and protect Tampa Bay and its watershed. It is managed through a strategic partnership between the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) and Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), who work together to encourage local and national contributions from the public and private sectors and achieve measurable conservation outcomes. The founding partners of TBERF are the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Restore America’s Estuaries, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and The Mosaic Company. TBERF would not be possible without the commitment and generosity of the many organizations. Please take a moment to visit our sponsors page to view some of these committed partners.

The goal of the TBERF is to establish the habitat, species, and nutrient reduction priorities that have been developed by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and its partners, and outlined in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) Charting the Course. Eligible projects will advance the following priorities:

  • Recover an additional 5,103 acres of seagrass over 2010 levels, while preserving the bay’s existing grass beds and reducing propeller scarring of seagrasses.
  • Prevent increases in nitrogen entering the bay and assist in maintaining nitrogen loading at 2003-2007 levels by implementing innovative stormwater management projects and programs.
  • “Restore the historic balance” of coastal wetland habitats by restoring an additional 1,918 acres of salt marsh, including low-salinity tidal marsh, as approved in the TBEP 2010 Habitat Master Plan Update.
  • Restore an additional 840 acres of salt barren (saltern) habitat in Tampa Bay.
  • Restore and protect connectivity and function of fisheries habitat in the bay’s tidal streams and creeks.
  • Benefit declining, threatened or endangered species at the state or federal level, or as identified in the CCMP, through addressing long term solutions to the conservation of a species and/or restoring associated habitat.

To date, TBERF has received over $8 million to support 80 projects throughout the Tampa Bay watershed. This interactive map shows the locations and descriptions of TBERF funded projects. Click on a site-pin to learn more about the project

For more information about TBERF, contact Jessica Lewis at jlewis@tbep.org or Elsa Schwartz at eschwartz@estuaries.org.